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Words That Build by Norman Weinstein

An exclusive 21-part series published by ArchNewsNow that focuses on the overlooked foundations of architecture: oral and written communication.

By Norman Weinstein
January 26, 2025

Words That Build by Norman Weinstein


Norman Weinstein writes about architecture and design for Architectural Record, and is the author of “Words That Build” – an exclusive 21-part series published by – that focuses on the overlooked foundations of architecture: oral and written communication. He consults with architects and engineers interested in communicating more profitably; his webinars are available from ExecSense. He can be reached at


More Weinstein: From Ada to Zaha and Everything In Between: Op-eds, book reviews, musings, and debate



WORDS THAT BUILD: Communicating Architectural Edges

Tip 21: Write about meaningful circulatory patterns of light by personifying the interplay of architecture and light - December 3, 2009


WORDS THAT BUILD: Offer an Opening Statement That Frames a Broad Vista

Tip 20: The aim of an opening statement is to open door to dialogue rather than to persuasively hook another into compliance with your message - November 3, 2009


WORDS THAT BUILD: Communicate to Clients an Evolving Perspective Rather than a Fixed Clarity about Projects

Tip 19: Choose words and phrases that depict your architecture as mysterious promise as well as known product - October 7, 2009


WORDS THAT BUILD: Introduce Words that "Float" into the Flow of Communications with Clients

Tip 18: Replace prescriptive words and phrases etched in stone with language reflecting collaborative project in flux - September 9, 2009


WORDS THAT BUILD: Work with Clients to Develop Plans That Place Human/Spatial Relationships First

Tip 17: Shape dialogues with clients to catalyze designs promoting clear meanings of human relationships in proposed spaces - August 4, 2009


WORDS THAT BUILD: Faster! Deeper! Broader!

Tip 16: How to balance high speed communication with in depth communication - July 1, 2009


WORDS THAT BUILD: Translate Images Into Touching Performances

Tip 15: Cultivate communication with clients that translates architectural imagery into experience at their fingertips - June 2, 2009


WORDS THAT BUILD: Emphasize Words with Lasting Resonance

Tip 14: Cluster symbolic and mythically charged keywords in communication with clients - May 6, 2009


WORDS THAT BUILD: Re-invent Green Communication

Tip 13: Try the spectacular 2 step program to cut fat and reduce telltale signs of greenwash - April 2, 2009


WORDS THAT BUILD: Taking Advantage of Interruptions in Architectural Communication

Tip 12: Cogent communicators exploit opportunities offered by interruptions - March 4, 2009


WORDS THAT BUILD: Faceting Architectural Communication

Tip 11: Effective communication evolves out of cross reflective details - February 3, 2009


WORDS THAT BUILD: Use Space Creatively When Designing Your Client Communications

Tip 10: Use paragraph spacing in writing and pauses in conversation to promote out of the box thinking - January 8, 2009


WORDS THAT BUILD: Making Your Client's Contradictions Productive

Tip 9: Work with your clients contradictions to discover possible solutions - December 2, 2008


WORDS THAT BUILD: Initiate Conversations with Designs that Engage Your Clients.

Tip 8: Write dialogues engaging materials and processes with clients - November 5, 2008


WORDS THAT BUILD: Creating a Site Analysis That's Out of Sight

Tip 7: Write site analysis using words referring to senses beyond sight - October 8, 2008


WORDS THAT BUILD: Learning How to Persuade Through Learning Variations on a Theme

Tip 6: Master communications tool that generates copious variations on your theme - September 5, 2008


WORDS THAT BUILD: Respecting Key Words as Materials for Building Durable Structures

Tip 5: Recognize the key vocabulary shaping your professional practice and share those keywords with your clients - August 5, 2008


WORDS THAT BUILD: Steering Your Client in the Appropriate Direction

Tip 4: See your writing as navigational aid so your design intent clearly comes through to your client - July 8, 2008


WORDS THAT BUILD: Playing with the Flow of Communication

Tip 3: Use language that playfully enhances the flow of design intentions between you and your client - June 10, 2008


WORDS THAT BUILD: Clarifying Presentations to Clients through Rhythmic Emphasis

Tip 2: Use rhythmic accents to create persuasive story to your client - May 9, 2008


WORDS THAT BUILD: Coping with chaotic communication challenges

Tip 1: Learn to enjoy communicating with your client - April, 2008


(click on pictures to enlarge)